Kansas Reflector: Governor seeks to pay for Medicaid expansion in Kansas by legalizing medicinal marijuana

By Tim Carpenter | Feb. 1, 2021

OVERLAND PARK — Gov. Laura Kelly shook up debate about Medicaid expansion in Kansas by proposing Monday the state finance extending health care to as many as 165,000 low-income Kansans with revenue from legalizing medicinal marijuana.

Both political issues have been debated in the Kansas Capitol for years, but opposition among Republicans stalled movement on marijuana and Medicaid policy embraced by dozens of states. One objection from skeptics of Medicaid expansion has been the cost to Kansas, which would be obligated for 10% of new expenditures with the federal government covering the remaining 90%.

“In the face of the worst health crisis our country has seen in a century, I’m even more committed to delivering health care, jobs, federal dollars and protections for our hospitals to our state through expansion of Medicaid,” Kelly said. “The bill establishes the regulatory framework for the cultivation, testing, distribution, prescription and purchase of medical marijuana. Critically, the revenue the bill would generate each year pays for the cost of Medicaid expansion in full with money left over.”

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